Nipah virus alert issued in Kerala after two 'unnatural' deaths

Debodinna Chakraborty
Debodinna ChakrabortySep 12, 2023 | 13:25

Nipah virus alert issued in Kerala after two 'unnatural' deaths

Two unnatural deaths at Kozhikode spark fear of Nipah Virus return. (Photo: PTI)

Two suspicious deaths in Kerala's Kozhikode district have raised concerns about the resurgence of the Nipah virus, leaving the public alarmed about the virus's reappearance after 2021.

What happened

On Monday, the Kerala Health Department issued a statewide alert following two seemingly "unnatural" deaths reported in Kozhikode, suspected to be linked to Nipah Virus infection.

It was also noted that both individuals had experienced intense fever, a common symptom of the Nipah Virus. This factor contributed to speculation that the cause of these two "unnatural" deaths was the Nipah virus.

The last Nipah virus case was recorded back in 2021. (Photo: PTI)

Kerala has had prior encounters with the Nipah Virus, particularly in the Kozhikode region.

Kerala’s history with Nipah virus 

If these speculations prove accurate, it won't be the first time Kozhikode has witnessed the impact of the Nipah Virus.

The initial outbreak of the Nipah virus in southern India occurred in 2018, originating in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

Subsequently, the region faced a significant resurgence of the virus in 2021, beginning with the death of a 12-year-old boy reported at a private hospital in Kozhikode on September 5, 2021.

As a result, it's not surprising that the people of Kerala carry a sense of trauma when it comes to the Nipah Virus.

The severity of the Nipah virus even made its way to the silver screen in 2019 with the Malayalam movie "Virus," directed and co-produced by Ashiq Abu. The film portrayed the harsh effects of the virus outbreak in Kerala.

Effects of Nipah virus

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Nipah virus infection can potentially transmit from animals to humans, classifying it as a zoonotic ailment. It can also spread through contaminated food or direct human-to-human interaction.

The symptoms of Nipah virus infection are very similar to that of COVID-19. (Photo:Getty)

For those infected with the virus, it can manifest a range of health issues, including:

  • Asymptomatic (subclinical) infection,
  • The possibility of no discernible symptoms,
  • Acute respiratory disease,
  • In severe cases, fatal encephalitis.

Notably, Nipah virus infection presents symptoms similar to those of COVID-19.

Last updated: September 12, 2023 | 13:25
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